Crowberry Consulting

Sustainability in the event management sector

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Courtesy of Crowberry Consulting

Many facilities managers will be familiar with British Standards and International Standards, and the approach of plan, do, check, act and review as a way of implementing and monitoring progress. However for many event managers the framework provided by British Standards may be very unfamiliar. BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards organisation, recognised globally for its independence, integrity and innovation in the production of standards and information products that promote and share best practice. BSI has been instrumental in the creation, development and promotion of many recognisable standards such as BS EN ISO14001 for environmental management, 9001 for quality management and now 8901 for events management.

When developing the 8901 standard, the technical committee consulted with many stakeholders to ensure that key sustainability issues where included. The chair for the BSI working group is Fiona Pelham, MD of Organise This, and founder of not for profi t organisation Positive Impact. Fiona Pelham has extensive experience of organising, planning and running events in a way that is environmentally responsible and community involved. In 2007 Fiona established Sustainable Events Ltd to help event manager’s work through the new standard via an online tool. Positive Impact provides workshops and awareness days for anyone involved in the planning and running of events, wanting to incorporate social, ethical and environmental criteria.

In recognition of the pioneering sustainability work that Organise This has achieved, they have been awarded with the Manchester City Council Gold Environmental award, and in 2008 Sustainable Events was recognised by the North West Business and Environment Awards.

Why would the event management sector want to engage on sustainability? How can BSI 8901 help event managers and planners work towards more sustainable events? Fiona Pelham suggests: “Many decisions are taken during the planning of an event by both planners, venues and suppliers, which have economic, environmental and social impacts. Consideration of, and measuring and mitigating these negative impacts, is best practice in relation to the sustainability of the event.”

Organise This were one of a number of companies asked to trial the new standard and they worked with Manchester International Festival in June 2007. Organise This, went on to achieve the first industry event to gain certification to the standard, working with Meeting Professionals International European Conference in April 2008.

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